This is an interface of abstract methods for managing an
identity certificate. An identity certificate is a guarantee by a
principal that a public key is that of another principal. (A
principal represents an entity such as an individual user or a
In particular, this interface is intended to be a common
abstraction for constructs that have different formats but
important common uses. For example, different types of
certificates, such as X.509 certificates and PGP certificates,
share general certificate functionality (the need to encode and
decode certificates) and some types of information, such as a
public key, the principal whose key it is, and the guarantor
guaranteeing that the public key is that of the specified
principal. So an implementation of X.509 certificates and an
implementation of PGP certificates can both utilize the Certificate
interface, even though their formats and additional types and
amounts of information stored are different.
Important: This interface is useful for cataloging and
grouping objects sharing certain common uses. It does not have any
semantics of its own. In particular, a Certificate object does not
make any statement as to the validity of the binding. It is
the duty of the application implementing this interface to verify
the certificate and satisfy itself of its validity.
Returns the guarantor of the certificate, that is, the principal
guaranteeing that the public key associated with this certificate
is that of the principal associated with this certificate. For X.509
certificates, the guarantor will typically be a Certificate Authority
(such as the United States Postal Service or Verisign, Inc.).
the guarantor which guaranteed the principal-key
Returns the name of the coding format. This is used as a hint to find
an appropriate parser. It could be "X.509", "PGP", etc. This is
the format produced and understood by the encode
and decode methods.
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